5 common cleansing mistakes to avoid

[By Samantha Ong]

Washing one’s face is a daily skincare ritual and while it sounds totally simple and most of us might scoff at the idea of doing it incorrectly, even the savviest girls (including yours truly) are making cleansing mistakes without realising! But don’t worry, these simple cleansing boo-boos are easily correctable and we can quickly get ourselves on the right track by avoiding these 5 simple pitfalls. Pay close attention to your skin so you can provide it with the tender loving care it needs to stay looking fresh and radiant your whole life through.

1582Dirty hands

One of the most basic steps that cannot be omitted is to wash your hands thorougly before washing your face. If you skip this step, you aren’t really cleaning your face. Any dirt, oil or bacteria that was on your hands can be transferred onto your mien and that truly defeats the whole purpose of cleansing. If you have long nails, make sure you watch out for hidden grub under them. This is truly one of the simplest and surprisingly oft neglected action that demands immediate attention if you too are guilty of commiting. So remember to soap up thy hands before you lather up your facial cleanser later today!

Cleanser 101

Another common mistake that’s often made is not matching the type of facial cleanser used to your particular skin type. This could be due to the fact that we aren’t exactly sure of our skin type or simply because we happen to pick up the wrong cleanser but use it anyway! As a rule of the thumb, cream cleansers  are more suited for dry and normal skins while gel cleansers  work well for oily skin.


A simple way to ascertain the suitability of your choice of cleanser is to take note of how your skin feels after washing. If your skin feels tight or dry or if it doesn’t feel clean after a good wash, you might need to switch out your cleanser for a different one. Also take note of how your skin react to change of seasons or while travelling. If you sense that the product you usually use is not up to par, it’s best to switch it out before your skin react or break out!

1580Wipes gone wrong

Those convenient facial wipes or wet tissue that you reach for when you are hard pressed for time to wash your face or remove your makeup could be doing a whole lot more harm than good. A common preservative known as “methylisothiazolinone” (MI) that’s widely used to keep bacteria at bay in pre-moistened wipes had been linked as a major culprit behind the dramatic increased in cases of contact dermatitis over the last year or two. Symptoms include skin dryness, flaking, redness, itch, swelling or even blistering and acneiform eruptions in more severe cases.

MI was first approved for use in cosmetics and personal care products back in 2005. Almost immediately, companies began substituting it in favour of other possibly-risky preservatives like parabens and formaldehyde-related compounds which were plagued by adverse healthcare reports. But as the popularity of facial wipes surges, more and more reports of allergic reactions begin to surface. Although this preservative can also be found in soap and hair products, the problem is much more evident with wipes.

“With soap, the harsh ingredient touches the skin but get rinsed off fairly quickly so there’s very little residue left,” explains Dr. Chua Han Boon, senior medical consultation with The Sloane Clinic “But as facial wipes are often used without rinsing, whatever that’s in there gets left on your skin at full concentration, increasing exponentially the chances of developing an allergic reaction from it.”

One is better off with the Sloane Inc. Full Face Make-up Removal when it’s time to wipe off your urban warpaint. An ultra-gentle product containing soothing Chamomile and Saponaria extracts, this skincare gem works for all skin types including sensitive ones. With a formula that’s gentle and yet effective enough to work on water-proof mascara and heavy duty eye make-up without irritating the thinner skin around your eyes, this is a “must-have” in your dermal asernal for safe and thorough cleansing before hitting the sack for your beauty sleep.

1578Too much or too little

No matter what skin type you belong to, cleaning your face once too often is asking for trouble. Over washing can irritate or dry out skin, stripping away the protective layer of essential surface oil, with micro-breaks in the skin which allow the seeding of bacteria that leads to acne breakouts. If you skin is oily to begin with, over washing instead of keeping it squeaky clean as of your intent, will lead to a paradoxical increased in sebum production and worsened the grease. Limit cleansing your face to once or twice daily unless you’re an adolescent in puberty or cleaning up after the gym or outdoor activities to keep your skin happy and healthy.

Conversely, always take time to rinse all of your face wash off your skin. Leaving traces of cleanser on your skin due to improper rinsing can dry or irritate your facial skin and cause product build-up on your face, leading to clogged pores and zits.

Too hot or cold

A common skin care myth is that cold water closes your pores and hot water opens them. Whatever effect that the temperature of water has on pore size is at best temporary, if any. It is best to stick to lukewarm or room temperature water when you’re washing your face. Water that’s too hot can dry out our skin while water that’s too cold can lead to breakage of fragile surface blood capillaries.

Taking care of our skin can be a hard job especially after a tough day at work and you are fighting hard to keep your peepers open. But if you think of the benefits in the long run, a little effort put in daily will go far, to allow one to keep the signs of aging at bay, and to do so with grace, when it hits us eventually.


* Selected as Editor’s Choice Sep 2014*


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